The idea came from an off-hand comment in another interview I was having with Ron Mize, the director of CL@SE at OSU. We’d talked about the subject of the story: The Tenured Faculty Diversity Initiative for almost half an hour. At the end of our chat, I asked him what he does for fun. Of course, most of our very dedicated professors don’t have a lot of free time, and he explained that he ESPECIALLY doesn’t because he happens to live in Portland and commute to campus in Corvallis four days a week.
I was shocked. I hate commuting. I live exactly 1.5 miles from campus. It takes me about 10 minutes on my bike…
“But people do this?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered. And it’s not just him. There are more than a dozen faculty members at OSU in this unofficial carpool, and the idea intrigued me.
My first thought was, “This could make a great story for our Beaver Nation PDX newsletter,” which I work on and contribute content to regularly. It focuses on content that relates to our Portland audience. Blah Blah…. But the idea became more than that for me….
I mean, these people are brilliant, right? Ph.D.s! In a car! For hours at a time! The conversations they must have! It wasn’t difficult to get the rest of my team on board with the idea.
I knew I couldn’t just talk to them about it. I needed to experience it for myself, so I got permission to join them on a Wednesday in May. But I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Please never accuse me of not suffering for my art. This is what happened:
•5 p.m., Tuesday: I picked up a car from the motorpool
•4:30 a.m., Wednesday: I drove to the Park-N-Ride in Tigard
•6:15 a.m.: I began my journey back to Corvallis with the Carpoolers
•7:30 a.m.: I arrived in Corvallis and made my way directly to Java II for some caffeine
•5:30 p.m.: I met the carpoolers again
•6:30 p.m.: We are stuck in traffic behind an accident that eventually closes I-5 North.
•7:30 p.m.: We arrive back at the Tigard Park-N-Ride. I hop back into my motorpool car and turn around
•8:00 p.m.: I stop at the Sonic in Wilsonville for more caffeine. And tater tots. I need the tater tots.
•9:00 p.m.: I drop off my motorpool car. Go home and directly to bed.
The result: This story. And I’m totally and completely thrilled with it. It was a blast, and I hope you enjoy reading it!